Previous month:
December 2010
Next month:
February 2011

10 posts from January 2011

A million bucks worth of good advice from my son for businesses, churches, politicians

Justin2 Sure, I'm proud of my son, Justin Thorp, and I could spend a lot of time bragging about him and the man that he has become. He's a neat guy and I'm a proud dad.

But, he has some communication advice that's relevant to any business, church, pastor, state legislator, city council-member and township trustee.

These are ideas that have been percolating inside him since he was a young kid and have really taken root as the community manager at Clearspring Technologies, the developer of the web content sharing application AddThis.

Too many people with a message have grabbed on to social media like giddy school children with a new cellphone in their pockets. They like the new toys and see them as an answer to. . .just about everything. And they they are disappointed.

Read this post about remarks Justin made recently on the topic. Print them and see how they fit for you. He shares five main points:

1. Remember that your primary focus is to communicate.

2. Interact face-to-face as well as online.

3. Use social media to listen as well as talk.

4. Embrace criticism.

5. Think about customer service as an opportunity rather than an obligation.

You need a communications mindset. That means, it has to be two-way. You talk and you listen and you respond. Simple, right? Not for a lot of people.



I'm watching CNBC special tonight on Supermarkets and how they track customers

Do you realize how much spying your super-market does on you, including what you buy, which aisles you go down, how often you buy and many other things?

That's why I'm watching this CNBC program tonight that examines how supermarket track every little thing we do in their stores to get an edge on their competitors.  I want to be informed.  I'm anxious to hear comments from those who also watch.


What was the best part of going to Washington D.C. this past weekend?

How do you celebrate your wife's 60th birthday?  And your son-in-law's 30th.

A few months back I was faced with that question when trying to figure out how to recognize my wife's Meandxavier six decades of life.  When I turned 60 my family threw a big surprise birthday party for me.  My wife made it clear she didn't want one.  She'd be really happy just to be with her expanding family.

We did it this past weekend at my son's in Washington D.C.  It was our eighth or ninth trip since our son moved there after graduating from college. 

Our daughter, her husband and their 7-month-old son came up from North Carolina.  And we had a new addition to the family equation with our son's fiance.  The best part of the whole trip was being with our family.  But getting together in Washington D.C made it special. 

  Here are some of my notes and pictures from the weekend about where we went and what we did:

  • Birthday supper on Friday night at Chef Geoff's Downtown:  I'm not a foodie but this restaurant Justinandlauren could turn me into one.  My seven-month-old grandson came along for a dinner served on table cloths and food that expanded the boundaries of your palate.  It was very special and a treat from our son.
  • Birthday lunch of Friday at Chop't Creative Salad Company at Union Station:  This place was packed with patrons standing in line for made-to-order salads.  The number of choices could only be determined with mathmatic modelling.  It was great.  I'd go back in a minute.  It was affordable.
  • Birthday snack on Friday at Crumbs cupcakes at 604 NW 11th Street:  Again this place was packed with everybody ordering gourmet cupcakes.  They were big and they were almost evil in their great taste.  It was so packed that we had to take them down the street to a Barnes and Nobles.  
  • Sunday night treat after church:  We went to Dangerously Delicious Pies, a popular place, in a neighborhood that's being redeveloped.  The apple pie we got was filled with apples and taste.  And again, it was very special.  

The best part was visiting and catching up, sharing our lives and strengthening our family ties.  My son's fiance shared her condo with us and our son's apartment right on Capitol Hill was a sleeping spot for my wife and me. 

Great time.  We are blessed.  Thank-you God!


Celebrating super-wife's six decades of life

Where does one take his wife to celebrate her six decades of life? 

Turning sixty is a life milestone and not a millstone.  And my wife is proof of that.  She's seeing it as a starting point and not a place to wind down.

Before we got together with our kids, I took her for a special lunch at Capital City Brewing where we had some craft beer, turkey burgers, sweet potato french fries and special dessert treat.  Then as the day went on we got together with our kids, including our grandson and our future daughter-in-law.  Great times.  Here's a couple of pics:

Video 4 0 00 02-19 (2)
Video 4 0 00 02-19 (2)
Video 4 0 00 02-19 (2)

Video 4 0 00 02-19 (2)
Video 4 0 00 02-19 (2)



How much are you paying to fill the gas tank of your car, truck and SUV?

"The question now, since it's gradually rising, is atwhat point psychologically are people going to be saying, 'Oh my gosh, I just spent triple digits to fill my tank,'" Fields said.

GM Chairman and Chief Executive Daniel Akerson said rising oil prices would dampen the industry's profitability by skewing sales toward smaller vehicles, with smaller profit margins.


In my mid-Michigan neighborhood, I see lots of SUVs and light trucks. As gas prices climb, I wonder if my neighbors will continue paying big bucks to fill their gas tank to go to work or will they keep their big vehicle in the garage.

Anybody paying more than a hundred bucks to fill their gas tank? What's your limit?

According to the above article from today's Detroit News auto executives are concerned and hoping that they have the flexibility to change their production to consumers demands.

Getting ready for church and a visit with my grandson on a really cold Michigan morning

I'm next in line for the shower and then church. 

While waiting I'm thinking of my grandson who we will see later this week.  Xavier's six months old and will be moving overseas with his parents in the near future.

Xavier I'm thinking about what we can do together and what we can talk about about when he and I have some alone time.  Right at the top of my head, I'm think to sharing with him the joy of pancakes.  He needs to know about blueberry pancakes.  Big fluffy pancakes with maple syrup.  Those made with cranberries and orange pieces. 

It will be fun to tell him about the Char House in Bay City where his grandma and I spent many an hour eating pancakes and drinking coffee before we got married.  We talked about everything as we moved towards getting married.

My "Xavier Talk List" will have many more items.  Right now, I need to get my heart ready for church and to worship our great God who gives us all real hope.  I need my God tank filled to the top for a busy week.


FACTOID: How many people in Michigan are registered to use medical marijuana?

More than 45,000 people in Michigan are registered to use marijuana to ease the symptoms of cancer and other health problems.


Here in Michigan's State Capital City medical marijuana seems to be a growth business. Shops where registered patients can purchase the substance and related equipment have become commonplace.

The quote-click on the above link-from a Lansing State Journal story says more than 45,000 people in Michigan are registered to use it.

The disclosure is part of a federal lawsuit to get Michigan to share its medical marijuana records.

Where are the good paying jobs in Michigan right now?

Kent Niederhofer can't find enough mechanical engineers to work for him — in southeastern Michigan. You know, where Detroit is, with its 13.3% unemployment rate.


According to the above Time magazine story, there are some high-paying jobs in Michigan right now. But, it's for mechanical engineers.

The magazine's cover story which comes out today will kick off its special coverage of where the jobs are and where they are not.

Where are the other jobs in Michigan right now? What are the fields? What parts of the state.

I am honored to be the best man at my son's wedding

Our son Justin asked me to be the best man at his wedding in late spring.  When he called last night to ask me, all I could say is "yes, yes and yes."  What an honor for a dad! 

The best part of my life has been being married to his mom and being a dad to him and his sister. 

As I drink my pumpkin spice coffee this morning, I raise my mug to you and Lauren.  May you enjoy every bit and piece of life together.  May your love for each other only be exceeded by your love for God. 

Justin, I am really proud of the man you have become.  You are a winner.  Thank-you for asking me. 


Trouble on a Sunday morning in mid-Michigan

Does it surprise you that trouble is a part of life? Probably not. We all know trouble close-up and personal—bad health, empty bank account, blighted love, grief, loss of job, and the list goes on.


It's Sunday morning and I'm trying to prepare my head and my heart for church. First, it was the music on Family Life Radio's 99.9 in Lansing. The song, "In Christ Alone" really set a tone so far.

But, what about trouble that's almost a certainty? When it happens in Michigan, it seems all the more intense.

How should we/I respond? Click on the above devotion from Our Daily Bread. It's says golfers go out of their way to experience and play through hazards, just to improve their game.

There's a strong lesson here. I pray for God's big-time help when that class starts again.